How to manage when you've been invited to a party or another social event that involves food
One solution doesn't work for all
I don't think there's one, singular way, to handle social events. Don't get me wrong, I would love to be able to manage them as if they were all the same but it took me a while to realise they're not and the crux of the matter is, the people will be different. However, there is a way to make things smoother.
People and their complexities
Just as we all make different choices in terms of, for example, diet, faith, lifestyle, friends and careers; we also vary re how we choose to behave with others and even how we are in different circumstances! I know of some some people who would go out their way to cater for everyone when it's a small affair but if it is a bigger gathering, they won't consider meeting the needs of those following different diets. I know who others who will do everything it takes to meet e.g. my needs but not the requirements of Fred. (Made up name) You catch my drift? Everyone is complicated and we all change the way we behave in different situations
What should vegans do when they've been invited somewhere and food is involved?
So...what to do?
I've learned to assume and expect things from different people. This has then led me to make a decision about whether to eat beforehand or not.
The excited host who wants to include everyone
Some hosts have asked me what I will/won't eat and they've been excited about catering for me and they were eager to include me. When this was the case, I made sure I had room in my tummy to enjoy their efforts.
The attitude that guests should eat whatever the host provides
There have been other events where the host hasn't been inclined to cater for anyone who doesn't follow a vegetarian diet. So that would include those who eat meat, vegans, Jains who don't eat root vegetables and funghi, those with allergies etc.
I don't know what their reasons were, but in those cases, I've eaten before the event.
During the meal, if asked why I wasn't eating I'd try my best to avoid saying that there wasn't anything suitable for me to eat. It sounds dramatic, but food can make and break relationships! I don't want any ill feeling of any sort, so I find it best to be silent or change the subject somehow.
What I do when I'm unsure about whether there'll be any vegan food
When I haven't been sure what the host was going to provide I've eaten beforehand and then had some salad or crisps at the event, if I knew they were plant-based.
Lighten the host's load
When I've known that the host is open to guests bringing food, I've called and offered to bring a dessert or another dish. I often go for dessert because they go down well with most guests, including me, and they shout out that vegans don't go without!
Of course, it means that I'm also lightening the load of the host in two ways - they have to make/buy less and therefore the total cost of the event will be a little less too.
“Being vegan helped me realize I can say and do what I believe is right. That's powerful.”
- Alicia Silverstone